SIDNEY — It’s round two for distance learning for Ohio students. Locally, superintendents and teachers are preparing for education their students for the month of April.
Sidney City Schools students will return to the “classroom” Monday, April 6.
“Because we were on our way out the door for spring break when the governor announced that we would be closed for three weeks we needed extra time to get distance learning up and running full swing. We will be doing that starting Monday the (April) 6th but kids were given a list of activities they could be doing until full instruction starts on the 6th and teachers will be doing online instruction and videos,” said Superintendent Bob Humble.
Hard copies of work are available for students who need it, said Humble. The district will be going “full on remote learning for as long as needed,” he said.
County superintendents also shared how distance learning is going so far.
“Our learning has continued to be a positive experience. Our staff is working very hard to make certain lessons are meaningful and productive, while still maintaining rigor. Our students have been great and have been turning in assignments as directed. Our parents also need to be commended for assisting the learning process during this time. It’s been a real team effort,” said Fort Loramie Local Schools Superintendent Dan Holland.
“Our teachers are responsible for their classes and students during the regular school day. They produce lessons in a variety of ways, but mostly the use of online technology in the form of video lesson presentations, has been key for their students to continue learning.,” said Holland. “Mostly our primary age students have been receiving lessons through packets. Lessons are prepared for them to be completed on a week to week basis.”
The district, said Holland, will continue educating their students as the month progresses.
“We will continue as we have for the first few weeks. This seems to be working well for our students and staff. We are planning on adjusting the number of assignments due though as we move forward. It’s been a learning process for all involved and we want to maintain a balance between student workload and learning,” said Holland.
Hardin-Houston Local School District Superintendent Ryan Meier said his district is moving ahead with a different way of teaching the students.
“Our use of Google Classroom has worked very well for the vast majority of our students. Teachers have integrated multiple modes of instruction to meet and challenge their student’s academic and social needs. They have used educational platforms such as: Google meet, Zoom, various videos, along with traditional packets and projects,” said Maier.
“Our teachers are online seven days of the week at various times answering questions or assisting students and parents. This affords parents the opportunity to access teacher and aide help in the evenings when parents have completed their work day,” he said.
Maier said if a student doesn’t have a Chromebook or internet, then a homework bag can be complied if the parent requests it.
“We are going to continue the effective mode of instruction and interaction that we are currently using,” said Maier.
Russia Local Schools Superintendent Steve Ross said he’s impressed with the way his staff has handled the situation.
“I have been extremely impressed with how well it has gone the first three weeks. Our teachers have been extremely creative in making this transition and developing lessons that can be completed at home. I have been amazed by our students and how well they are doing completing the work and communicating with their teachers on a regular basis,” said Rose.
“Some of our teachers are having an online class but the majority are posting videos of their lessons,” he said. “In grades K-4 we send home packets every two weeks with two weeks of work and when they pick up their new work they return their completed packets.”
Jackson Center Local School District Superintendent Bill Reichert said the teachers and students have experienced a few bumps in the road, but its’s been good for the most part.
“Most of our teachers post through Google Classroom,” said Reichert. A second round of homework bags will be exchanged April 6.
Botkins Local School District Jeff McPheron said everything is up and running for their students’ learning experiences.
“So far my teachers have done an outstanding job providing educational opportunities for our students. We have come across a few roadblocks as we have been forced to jump into online learning very quickly, but we have adjusted and students and families have responded quite well to this new form of educational delivery.” said McPheron.
“Our teachers are required to monitor their Google Classrooms and email every day from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. as if it were a normal face-to-face day with students. This does not count the prep work, grading and time spent answering questions that are sent at non-school hours and times. Teachers are all approaching instruction slightly different. Some are posting all five days’ worth of videos, assignments and lessons at the beginning of the week and students are working on them at their pace. While other teachers are posing lessons daily and pacing the classroom themselves. I think it depends on the teachers’ style of instruction, the age level of the students and several other factors on how it is presented. This is not any different than a normal school day. I can walk the halls room to room and see several different instruction methods going on all at different paces.”
The lower elementary students are all receiving instruction via online lessons, with the exception of students who do not have internet access, he said. Those students are receiving work packets to complete assignments.
“We will continue moving forward with online educational opportunities for our students. Teachers are now becoming accustomed and more familiar with the Google Classroom format. I have been impressed at the continued creativity and student centered thinking they are showing in presenting educational concepts in different ways that students can grasp and learn from,” said McPheron.
Meals on the go
In addition to providing distant learning for the students, meals are also being made available for eligible students.
“This has gone very well. SCS gave out 3,000-plus meals last week,” said Humble.
Maier said the meal distribution is “outstanding.”
“Our bus drivers and aides will continue to deliver meals using our buses throughout the district for those affected families. As you can see it has been a team effort by our H-H staff to do what we can under these adverse circumstances,” said Maier.
Rose said the cafeteria staff has been working hard to ensure the students of the district receive their meals.
“Our cafeteria staff are delivering a warm meal for any family that requests it within the district,” said Rose.
Reichart said the meal program for Jackson center students is going very well.
“We have a hot meal each day for our kids that need it,” he said.
McPheron said the mail pic-up is going well.
“We continue to provide lunch daily along with the assistance of the Sidney Food Bank and other local resources we have also provided several hundred bags of food to families in our community,” he said.
All school events for the month of April have been cancelled because of the pandemic.
“As of now SHS prom has been rescheduled for June 6, 2020,” said Humble. “We are working on a plan B for some dates in June. We are hearing that Ohio Department of Education is sending guidance on this later this week. I’d also like to add that our entire staff has been outstanding throughout this process and I couldn’t be more proud of all of them!”
Holland said the district’s goal is to hold a graduation ceremony.
“This remains to be seen based on the governor’s directives as we move along. At this time, we are postponing April events until we have more directives. However, we want to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of our students, so our goal is to see what can be done to effectively do this,” said Holland. “We would like to certainly have graduation. The seniors have earned this. This will be postponed unit further notice, but if we would have to do it during the summer, then we will do what we can do to make this happen.”
Maier said his district is waiting to see what the next orders from the governor might entail.
“Our high school principal has a back-up date scheduled in May and with continue to monitor the progress of the COVID virus. Our district’s philosophy is to remain student centered and re-schedule as many events as possible even if it rolls into the early part of summer keeping in mind all the other events already scheduled during a ‘normal summer’.” said Maier
“We will continue to monitor the restrictions that are in place and re-schedule graduation (if needed) with those in mind. As spoken before, we will do everything we can to afford our kids these high school experiences and memories,” he said.
Rose said prom for Russia students will be rescheduled as soon as it is safe to do so.
æIt is too early to know how we will handle graduation but we definitely will have a graduation ceremony once it is deemed safe by the State of Ohio. If necessary we may limit the number of people that attend graduation,” said Rose.
Reichert said the JC prom has been postponed. They are working on a graduation ceremony but nothing has been finalized.
McPheron said Botkins’ prom is planned for May, so right now, it’s still on.
“Prom for us is in May, so we have not made a decision on that event quite yet,” said McPheron. “If the governor decides to extend the closing of the school buildings to May then we will have to consider options of what to do with prom.
“It is very early to make a hard or firm decision about graduation, but I have discussed options with my team here at Botkins,” he said. “I believe the current seniors have earned the right to walk across that stage and be handed their diplomas. How or when that would occur is yet to be seen. We will celebrate our senior class and award them diplomas in some manner in the coming months.”